tv Meet the Press NBC May 23, 2011 3:00am-4:00am PDT
good morning. breaking news in the 2012 race for the white house. mitch daniels will not run for president. the indiana governor who many thought would arrive on a white horse to buck up the gop field will not join the fray after all, announcing in a surprise statement overnight that family concerns made the difference. from the statement, he writes about his wife sherry and his four daughters the following -- "what could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women's caucus and there is no override provision. simply put, i find myself caught between two duties. i love my country. i love my family more." and with that, the field narrows. i want to begin, joined by the chairman of the house budget committee, paul ryan. chairman, welcome back to "meet the press." >> hey, good morning, david. nice to be with you. >> i want to get your reaction to the daniels news because he is, in many ways, a kindred spirit on a lot of these fiscal
issues, fiscal discipline. he won't be a part of that 2012 conversation as a candidate. a big blow to the party, do you think? >> well, he called me last night and gave me the news about this, so quite frankly, yes, i am disappointed. i think his candidacy would have been a great addition to this race and i think it's unfortunate that he's not going to run. >> what about your own plans? there is a move afoot this morning, one of the big trending stories is whether you might actually join the race with a fiscal discipline message for 2012. will it happen? >> well, look, i've been very clear about this, i'm not running for president. i feel because we are in a big budget debate, i'm in a great position as chairman of the house budget committee to really weigh in on this debate. and i feel like the moment we are in, i want to stay focused on where we are right now, and that is getting our fiscal house in order. >> so, under no circumstances would you run or be on the ticket as the number two? >> look, i'm not going to get into all those hypotheticals. i am not running for president. i am not planning on running for
president. if you are running for president, you've got to do a lot to line up a candidacy. i have not done any of those things. it's not my plan. my plan is to be a good chairman of the house budget committee and fight for the fiscal sanity of this nation. >> understood. there's a little bit of door opening there, though. the door is a bit ajar. >> it's not a door opening, it's just -- i do know how this works and i'm not going to get into all these hypotheticals in the future. my point is, i'm not running for president. you never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road. i'm not talking about right now. and i want to focus on fixing the fiscal problems of this country, and i really believe, david, where i am as chairman of the house budget committee puts me in a great position to be a great contributor to this debate. >> stay where you are, chairman, please. the other big political story this week, of course, had to do with newt gingrich, in iowa this weekend. he says his presidential campaign is alive and well despite a tough week that began with his criticism of my guest, paul ryan, whose plan to reform medicare is now the hot topic in washington and on the campaign trail. we're going to continue our interview with chairman ryan in
a moment, but first, some of the background. >> just days after announcing his white house run, gingrich made his 35th appearance on this program and shocked many by up-ending the centerpiece of the conservative 2012 playbook, by calling ryan's medicare plan "right-wing social engineering." >> there are things you can do to improve medicare -- >> but not what paul ryan is suggesting, changing medicare? >> i think that is too big a jump. >> gingrich made headlines, but not the ones he wanted. >> to somehow portray that as a radical step i think is a tremendous misspeak. >> cuts paul ryan off at knees, it supports the obama administration. >> he was even confronted by a voter during his first swing through iowa. >> what you just did to paul ryan is unforgivable. >> i didn't do anything to paul ryan. >> yes, you did. >> by tuesday, gingrich began back-tracking. >> i made a mistake and i called paul ryan today, who is a very
close personal friend, and i said that. >> but other conservatives had already moved in. >> and it sounded pretty clear to me that newt gingrich's position, because he articulated this, was that paul ryan's plan would be social engineering, and he didn't like it. >> by thursday, gingrich moved on to denial. >> it was not a reference to paul ryan. there was no reference to paul ryan in that answer. >> well, then, what did you apologize to him about? >> missteps that gave political commentators and comedians alike material all week long. >> so, let me say on the record, any ad which quotes what i said on sunday is a falsehood, because i have said publicly, those words were inaccurate and unfortunate. >> you know, i've always found the hallmark of an honest conversation is one that begins with "if you quote me directly utilizing videotape of my comments in context, you're lying." [ laughter ] >> the bigger issue beyond gingrich's campaign is the sensitivity he exposed among republicans to ryan's budget plan, including medicare.
just how far will and should the gop go to tackle the debt in this election season? >> and i'm back with chairman paul ryan. how did you respond to all of this? >> well, first of all, his quote was deeply inaccurate and is a gross mischaracterization of the house republican budget plan. newt's acknowledged that, he's retracted it. and let's be clear what we're proposing here. this is a sensible and as gradual as it gets. we're saying no changes for medicare for people above the age of 55. and in order to keep the promise to current seniors who have already retired and organized their lives around this program, you have to reform it for the next generation. and the way in which we propose to reform it for the next generation, it's in keeping with the bill clinton bipartisan commission to reform medicare, it's an idea that's been around for a long time called premium support, guaranteed coverage options for medicare where the government subsidized the poor and the sick a whole lot more
than the wealthy and people get to choose. to put it in a nutshell, we're saying don't affect current seniors, give future seniors the ability to deny business to inefficient providers. as a contrary to that, the president's plan is to give the government the power to deny care to seniors by empowering a panel of 15 unelected bureaucrats to put price controls and rationing in place for current seniors. so, i would argue that the opposite s true. we're being sensible, we're being rational, and we're saving this program. and you cannot deal with this debt crisis, david, unless you're serious about entitlement reform. and unfortunately, i think we have mediscare all over again. >> we'll get to that. congressman, was this demagoguery on the part of newt gingrich? that's what you warned happened on both sides when you were here in april on the approach of both parties. >> yes. >> this was demagoguery on the part of newt gingrich? >> no, i think that quote is deeply inaccurate. it's a gross mischaracterization. again, newt already said it was
wrong, wrong to say it and he's basically retracted the statement and has apologized to me. it's not about me personally. it's about the house republican budget. >> i don't think anybody thinks it's about you personally. the "wall street journal" editorialized on tuesday the following. i'll put it up on the screen. "mr. gingrich chose to throw his former allies in the house not so much under the bus as off the grand canyon rim. our guess is that politician as experienced as mr. gingrich knew exactly what he was doing and that as he runs for president, he wants to appear to be more moderate than he has sounded over the last 20 years by suddenly triangulating against the gop house he once led." the thought is he did know what he was doing because what he said out loud is what republicans i've spoken to have said privately. they're scared to death about the politics you're proposing. they think it's handing a huge issue to the democrats. >> look, of course people are scared of entitlement reform because every time you put entitlement reform out there, the other party uses it as a political weapon against you. look, both parties have done this to each other.
here's the problem, david, if we don't get serious about these issues, if we don't get serious about the drivers of our debt, we're going to have a debt crisis. and the irony of this is all if we don't fix these programs, people who rely on these benefits are going to get cut the first. they're going to be hurt the worst under a debt crisis. we're saying if we fix this now, we can keep the current promise to current seniors and people ten years away from retiring. if we allow politics to get the best of us and allow the demagoguery to sink in and do nothing, then we will have a debt crisis, then current seniors will get hurt. so, who's being rational and responsible here? i think we want to get above all of this. look, here in wisconsin, people are ready for answers. they want leadership. the senate democrats haven't even proposed or passed a budget for 753 days. so, we, house republicans, have put out a plan to fix this problem, save medicare, and in fact, pay off the debt over time and we've seen nothing of the like from the president and the senate democrats.
>> here's the problem. according to our polling, nearly eight in ten americans do not want to cut spending for medicare, even in the name of cutting the debt. you, i assume, are not doing all this as an intellectual exercise. you would actually like to get reform accomplished. there's the question of how much damage newt gingrich has done, former speaker of the house, presidential candidate. he was in iowa and was confronted by a voter, and i want to play a portion of that and get your response to it. >> what you just did to paul ryan is unforgivable. >> i didn't do anything to paul ryan. >> yes, you did. you undercut him and his allies in the house. >> no, i said -- >> you're an embarrassment to our party. >> well, i'm sorry you feel that way. >> how much damage has he done? >> how much damage have i done? >> no, how much damage has newt gingrich done to your effort to reform -- >> oh, newt gingrich, i'm sorry, i didn't hear you correctly. i'm not a pundit. i'm a policy maker and i'll let you and the voters figure this stuff out. point is this, we've got to get beyond this and we've got to get on to a serious conversation about what it takes to fix the
fiscal problems in this country. and if we don't tackle these problems now while we have time, they're going to tackle us. and our whole point here is we need to preempt and avert a debt crisis, and the way we have proposed to do that is do on our terms and prevent people who are currently retired and people about to retire from having severe disruptions in their lives, and so -- >> but congressman -- >> the people of iowa and new hampshire can figure this stuff out. >> but wait a second, but that really is a dodge. you are the chairman of the committee, yes, you're serious about entitlement reform, yes. you're also a politician. you say you want to do it on your terms. law does not become law without building political consensus, and you don't have that, and now you had a major figure in the republican party say this was right-wing social engineering. so, i'm wondering how much you do feel undercut in actually getting this passed, which i assume is your goal? >> first of all, if people are describing this accurately in polls, it's far more popular than the poll you referenced.
second of all, leaders are elected to lead. i don't consult polls to tell me what my principles are or what our policies should be. leaders change the polls, and we are leading in the house. we are not seeing this kind of leadership from the president of the united states. the senate democrats haven't even proposed or passed a budget for 753 days and we have a budget crisis. so, yes, we are going to lead and we are going to try to move these polls and change these polls, because that's what the country wants. i just did 19 town hall meetings, david, in a district that i work for that went for obama, dukakis, clinton and gore. people are hungry for solutions, and i really fundamentally believe that people are way ahead of the political class and i think they're going to reward the leader who steps up to the plate and actually fixes these problems, no matter how much demagoguery, no matter how much distortion, no matter how much political parties try to scare seniors in the next election. i just don't think they're going to buy it this year and they're hungry for leaders to fix this problem before it gets out of
our control. >> let me follow up on that point. the president's communication adviser, dan pfiefer, put this on his twitter feed this week. he wrote, "bigots take away from the gingrich flap." you'd expect that from democrats and you'll hear more of it. also from the right, dick armey in the "wall street journal," from freedom works, behind the tea party movement, writes this -- "medicare reform has risen to the top of the national agenda and will be the defining issue of next year's elections. any serious gop presidential candidate must be absolutely clear on this issue. kicking the can down the road is no longer an option. a candidate who is timid on entitlement reforms is not qualified to be president." is that your view? >> yes, it is my view. i agree with that, and i do believe -- look, you cannot ever fully balance the budget and pay off the debt unless you address the drivers of our debt, our health care entitlements, our entitlements. and so, we need a leader who is willing to talk about these things and actually do these things. we don't have that leader in the white house right now.
we don't have these leaders running the senate right now. and yes, i agree with dick armey and matt kiby in that op ed, which is, if you want a leader to fix america's problems, you've got to deal with these entitlement issues before they get out of our control, so yeah, i agree with that sentiment. >> then why don't you see more republicans who want to be the country's leader standing up and saying i am for the ryan plan, full stop, including medicare reform? even michele bachmann has said there's an asterisk next to her support on medicare because she has concerns that has been backed up by congressional analysis suggesting that costs for seniors would go up under your plan, you call premium support, others call vouchers, giving them money to buy insurance in the private marketplace. >> well, look, first of all, i have no problems with somebody who's offering alternative solutions to fix this problem. i have problems with people who aren't offering any solutions, who are just playing politics. now, as far as the costs are concerned, here's what we propose.
if you're under 55, when you become medicare eligible, you get to pick among a guaranteed coverage options provided by and regulated by medicare. we don't subsidize the wealthy nearly as much as middle income, and we subsidize the poor and sick a whole lot more than everybody else. we think that's a smart way to go, choice in competition, giving the senior the power to deny business, the inefficient providers. the alternative to this, david, is a rationing scheme, are the 15 bureaucrats the president's going to point next year on his panel to ration medicare spending. we don't think we should give the government the power to ration spending to seniors. we want to give future seniors the ability to make choices, and we want to subsidize people who are middle income and lower income and sycamore than we subsidize the wealthy, and doing it this way, according to the cbo and the trustees, saves medicare, not only for the current generation with no disruptions, but the next generation and helps us pay off our national debt. these are the kinds of issues
we've got to tackle if we're going to avert a debt crisis. if you want to be a serious leader, you've got to deal with this. >> are you willing to negotiate on your medicare plan because it's unlikely to pass the senate? >> yes, absolutely. >> you're willing to negotiate? >> of course we would. this is the legislative process. but let me be clear, we're the only ones with a plan to fix this problem. we have nothing, nothing from the president or from the senate democrats that come anywhere close to averting a debt crisis and fixing our problem. house republicans put out a plan that cuts $6.2 trillion over the next ten years to get this economy growing, to save our safety net, to guarantee health and retirement security and to pay off our debt. we're offering details. we have no partners on the other side of the aisle offering anything but misleading scare tactics. >> all right, before you go, what about the debt ceiling negotiations? do you think there will be a deal or will this go down to the wire? >> well, first of all, i think there will be a deal. it will probably take a while. look, we have until august. it's may right now. this is going to take time.
our position's really simple. for every dollar the president wants to raise the debt limit, we're saying let's cut more than a dollar's worth of spending. he's asked for a $2 trillion increase in the debt limit. we've laid out $6.2 trillion in spending cuts. so, we can show the president plenty of ways and areas to cut more than a dollar's worth of spending, and it's very important for the credit markets, for our economy to show that we're going to get this situation under control that we're going to get the debt stabilized and get spending under control as we deal with this debt limit. nobody wants default to happen, but at the same time, we don't want to rubber-stamp a debt limit increase that shows we're not getting our situation under control. >> chairman ryan, i apologize for that satellite delay. sometimes that gets in the way. thank you very much for dealing with that and thank you for being on. >> thank you. and coming up, battleground 2012. the changing gop field. the overnight news that mitch daniels will not run means for the rest of the contenders. plus, more on the gingrich fallout. did he upend the republicans' 2012 campaign strategy, and can
his candidacy survive such an early blow? plus, rising tensions in the middle east as president obama delivers a big speech on u.s. policy in the region. we'll talk about the politics of it all with our are troundtable. congressman chris van hollen of maryland, republican strategist mike murphy, nbc's andrea mitchell, "the washington post's" eugene robinson, "the new york times'" andrew ross sorkin. in 1968, as whaling continued worldwide, the first recordings of humpback songs were released. public reaction led to international bans, and whale populations began to recover. at pacific life, the whale symbolizes what is possible when people stop and think about the future. help protect your future, with pacific life. the power to help you succeed.
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we're back, joined by our roundtable. republican strategist and columnist for "time" magazine, mike murphy. from los angeles, democratic congressman and ranking member of the house budget committee, chris van hollen of maryland. author of the new book -- not the new book, best-selling book "too big to fail," but now a new
hbo movie, "the new york times'" andrew ross sorkin, chief foreign correspondent for nbc news, andrea mitchell, columnist for "the washington post," eugene robinson. welcome to all of you. congressman, i want to start with you, fresh off this paul ryan interview. he's not giving ground on medicare after patching things up with newt gingrich. where does that leave negotiations on whether any kind of entitlement reform concerning medicare can be agreed to? >> well, you're right, david, it sounds like the republicans are doubling down on their plan to end the medicare guarantee. you know, newt gingrich had it right a week ago on this show. it is a radical plan, it is right-wing social engineering, and it is for this reason, because they take away the medicaid guarantee. they say to seniors, you've got to go into the private insurance market, and independent congressional budget offices point out two things -- in that market, prices keep going up, and under their plan, support for seniors under medicare goes down, which is why it's going to cost seniors more and more every year as this goes on. >> but he is saying that he is
willing to negotiate and he's also saying accurately that you democrats don't have a plan and we have a budget deficit. >> well, two things there. number one, the president has put a plan on the table. let's remember, the affordable care act, the health care reform bill, had some significant medicare reform. in fact, as paul indicated, in the last elections, they ran all these ads against democrats. we ended the overpayments to the medicare advantage plans, we made some other reforms to incentivize provision of value of care over volume of care, and there are other things that have been proposed, and the president mentioned some of those. but here's where the republicans have not come to the table. you didn't hear one word about how we need to deal with the revenue side of the equation. every bipartisan commission that has looked at our deficit and debt problem has said you can't do it with a one-sided, lop-sided approach, which is what the republican plan is. you need a revenue component. these guys won't even agree to get rid of the subsidies for the
big oil companies! if you're serious about the deficit, why won't you come to the table and say, when you've got record gas prices, record profits, you're not going to ask the oil companies to chip in and get rid of their subsidies. >> final point on this. the republicans say, look, the prescription drug benefit under medicare came in under budget and is very popular and that the current path is simply unsustainable, to keep giving a guarantee to people that can't be paid for without absolutely busting the budget and increasing the deficit. is the democratic leadership prepared to put reformulating medicare in some democratic way on the table? >> what we've said about medicare is what the president said, which is that, number one, some reforms have been made, number two, additional reforms can be made, but that's not the place you start, by going to say, you know, beneficiaries are going to take the big hit. there are other reforms you can make. let me give you one example. when it comes to prescription drugs, you mentioned medicare
part d. in fact, under the medicaid program, the taxpayer gets a much better deal in terms of the price for the purchase of drugs. we've said for folks who are on medicare and medicaid who are eligible take the lower rate, save the taxpayers some money. so, there's a lot you can do. and the republican proposal, the reason it's bad politics is because it's terrible politics. >> we'll come back and ask everyone to weigh in on this, but i want to get to the political news this morning. we'll put up the headline this morning from the "indianapolis star." mike murphy, daniels decision, not running. "i love my country, i love my family more." this is a big deal. i said at the top, he was seen as the candidate on the white horse for a lot of people. >> old rule of politics, if you're going to run, make sure your wife is going to vote for you. that's not -- so, i thought he had a great statement and it's true. people were very excited about him as a candidate. he would have been a heavy weight in the contest. now we're back where we were. i think there's a lot of talk in washington about excitement. there might not be enough in
washington. for real voters, it hasn't even begun yet. i think there's one last hamlet question, which is chris christie of new jersey, who is a big republican start. will he take another look at a late entry, which i think is possible? that would shake up the race. if not, i think you're going to have a lot of noise candidates around, but it's going to be down to romney, huntsman, pawlenty, and then kind of an entertaining candidate who won't get nominated. one will emerge, maybe herman king. >> andrea mitchell, what about paul ryan? he didn't close the door completely on being on the ticket. he said i'm not running for president. >> he didn't close the door. i think because of medicare, the tux 'tisity of what he's proposed on medicare in terms of politics, i think it would be a very big reach for him to be the nominee of the republican party, but he ought to be considered. certainly, i think that mike would say for vice president, he could be in those speaks. when he said to you that leaders change polls, that's leadership people are hungry for. >> and he did say that anybody running in 2012 basically has to
be with him or against him that he is in that center place, showing leadership. eugene robinson, this is our list of who's in, who's out, who's on the fence. we've got -- our cork board here is moving around a lot. so, you see who's now out. you see who's in, including, as of tomorrow, tim pawlenty and herman cain got in over the weekend. then that additional list of who's kind of out there but not officially in. mitt romney's going to be in, but is just not official. jon huntsman, santorum, rudy giuliani, michele bachmann and sarah palin. look at the polling now, so we have context around this. romney still at 20%, palin at 12%. she said this week she's got fire in the belly. gingrich at 9:00 a% and so on a forth. where does it stand? >> it's very confusing. mitt romney, anything that's happened the last two weeks has been very good for mitt romney. he is sort of the default option, i think, for the republican party. chris christie has made
sherman-like statements about not running this time. i think, i personally think he's serious about that. and i think one reason is that he can look ahead to 2016. >> yeah. >> and see that as a better chance. >> what about the message, andrew ross sorkin? i mean, you cover wall street, you cover all things financial. a fiscal discipline message of we're going to get it right on the economy message, that is still the right message for republicans going into next year. >> i got an e-mail while the show was going on, while ryan was just speaking. and even though the medicare plan may be unpopular, the view by a wall street ceo was this guy at least is proposing something. i think they like the idea of leadership. they want to get behind that. i don't know if ryan is their man. i think from a money perspective, you're seeing all the money going to romney, but i think there is a worry there is a lack of leadership. as one ceo said to me this week, at this point, we are only playing for the senate. in terms of what our real opportunity is, because i don't think they have someone who's really igniting at least the
business -- >> the senate is the hedge on the presidential race. let me speak about ryan for a minute and defend him. there is a perception on the right that a lot of people in congress are on the federal payroll and spend a lot of time maneuvering to get re-elected. paul ryan, whether you like the plan or not, is about the bravest guy in washington because he's taking on the entitlement monster, which is a huge threat. whether republican or democrat, everybody agrees the spending is out of control. ryan has a plan that has a lot of political pain. whether it's fair or not, it's incredibly brave. what i'd like to see is some grown-up politics for a change. instead of the democrats just doing the mediscare, let's have an equal plan from the left. pick the harder choice rather than the hard choice versus the democracy, you know -- >> political courage on the republican side is taking on the revenue piece. that's why you had a couple folks getting -- senator coburn raised his head on that. grover norquist tried to chop it
off. it doesn't take a lot of courage on the republican side to slash medicaid by $700 billion -- >> we agree with you on revenues, but -- >> here is the guys who won't even agree to say to the oil companies, look -- >> but congressman -- >> very, very quickly when you go to the oil company and all this stuff, you're going -- >> it's your job -- [ everyone talking at once ] >> will you endorse simpson bowls? because i will -- >> there's a lot of good in simpson/bowles and what that did was took a balanced approach. the republican budget is not balanced. in fact -- >> but where's the -- >> let me get in for a second. >> the co-chairs of simpson/bowles both said that the republican plan is not balanced. and they described the president's proposal as more balanced and comprehensive. >> i want to pull out on this because the larger issue is what will be rewarded. will it be leadership on seeking to solve the most entractable problems or will too much pain be too painful?
you said newt gingrich had it right. there are certainly those on the democratic side who were listening, the professionals. and the group priorities usa action, formed by deputy press secretary bill boraton, is now doing an ad in south carolina against mitt romney, putting the gingrich flap at the center of it. let's play that ad. >> newt gingrich says the republican plan that would essentially end medicare is too radical. governor haley thinks the plan is courageous and gingrich shouldn't be cutting conservatives off at the knees. mitt romney says he's on the same page with paul ryan, who wrote the plan to essentially end medicare. but with mitt romney, you have to wonder, which page is he on today? priorities usa action is responsible for the content of this advertisement. >> andrea mitchell, this is where the debate is going? >> the debate is going exactly to that point, and both sides trying to demonize the other. and what you're saying and what
mike murphy is saying is that people want leadership, people want someone to show some guts here. paul ryan had shown considerable guts, but you're correct that nobody on the republican side is showing any courage on the tax front. and unless taxes are part of the mix, every grown-up knows it can't -- >> but ryan opened the window today to actually come to the middle. he wants another proposal. he wants a proposal from the democrats, and i think if they can actually -- i think there is an opportunity to get there. so, i think you give ryan credit for at least bringing something to the table and then when do the democrats come -- [ everyone talking at once ] >> go ahead, gene. >> let me point out two things. number one, republicans will not talk about tax increases. democrats talk about a lot of budget cuts. the question for democrats is how deeply do you cut the budget. so, the second thing is, on medicare, people don't want it to be about your program. they don't want the kind of change paul ryan wants. so, you can call that leadership, but nobody wants to
follow, it's not leadership. >> the democrats politically don't want to talk about actual budget cuts because they don't want their voodoo to be done to them. you can argue, i think correctly, that republicans are very -- you know, they're not ready to take heat on taxes, but the democrats aren't ready to take heat on any kind of broad-based taxes or on spending cuts for real. >> actually, that's not true, mike. you know that. a broad-based tax is exactly what the president and democrats proposed. we said let's go back to the same things in place for the clinton administration from the very top -- >> that's not -- [ everyone talking at once ] >> no, no. everybody making over $100,000 -- [ everyone talking at once ] >> that's over $700 billion. that's a big chunk of the money. now look, the bipartisan groups have said you need balance. if you want to come to the table, we have a forum. the vice president's leading some talks. the republicans have said that they're not going to deal with revenue as part of that. democrats have said we're prepared to deal with the cuts, we're prepared to make cuts.
>> on the entitlement side. >> it's a two-way street and -- >> let me ask, congressman -- >> goes one way and the republicans go the other way -- >> let me get in here for a second. i'm going to go to a break in a minute. i want to ask one substantive question, and that is, will the idea of caps on spending survive to get us through this debt ceiling issue, and then perhaps, an agreement on the budget? >> what the president's proposed is a cap on the deficit and debt. that's what we are all interested in and need to address. >> republicans said you need to cap discretionary spending and then the cap -- >> it's a question of balance. we want to reduce the deficit, involving spending cuts and the revenue increase. by saying spending, you're saying you want to whack medicare and medicaid only. you only want to deal with the spending side. again, the bipartisan groups that have looked at this, every one of them said any credible plan requires both. that's what we're saying. >> so, i can't promise the debate won't continue during the commercial, but we're going to take one. when we come back, i want to
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alright, fine. no, you don't have to do it. ok? [ male announcer ] notre dame knows it's better for xerox to control its printing costs. so they can focus on winning on and off the field. [ manager ] are you sure i can't talk -- ok, no, i get it. [ male announcer ] with xerox, you're ready for real business. we are back with more from our roundtable. and when i say we are back, this weekend, that is no small thing because there is a lot of talk about the end of the world. and so far, so good on that. so, let's go back to politics. and here was the cartoon out of missouri, columbia, missouri, from john darkow, of newt gingrich shooting himself in the foot right after he announced -- that's the medicare statement that is around the foot he is shooting. mike murphy, how much damage has newt gingrich done to himself? >> well, newt's a lot of things, but few people in practical politics see him as a dream candidate. he's just never been a real vote-getter. that said, he's a powerful
intellectual force. he's had a bad week. i have to step away, because the maneuvers of newt's campaign, which is close to examining the maneuvers of the belgian navy. it's interesting, but not very important. i don't think he was close to getting nominated. so, the focus is on those who could get nominated. newt will be a catalyst, a factor, but less than a factor in that people like me didn't think he would be that powerful. >> gene robinson, you wrote in "the washington post" on thursday -- "prominent republicans immediately grabbed their pitchforks, lit their torches and formed an angry mob. from the opinion surveys and town hall meetings it was already clear that the ryan plan is fundamentally alter the medicare plan is deeply unpopular, and that ultimately it is likely to hurt the party at the polls. now one of the best known figures in the party, a candidate for the presidential nomination, was breaking ranks."
>> they see it at town hall meetings and look at the polls. this is tough. this is an unpopular stance that paul ryan has led them to. it may be brave, but it's not popular. so, newt gingrich comes out and slams it, i think, sensibly, in terms of his own narrow political interests, perhaps, or he can see it that way, but his campaign, i think, i mean, it's toast at this point, and i agree with mike that maybe it wasn't that big anyway. >> and andrea mitchell, he hasn't stopped talking. he's talking this morning. he told rush limbaugh, as we indicated, he wasn't even talking about paul ryan, which is on its face absurd. >> he is twisting himself over this because he keeps changing the story and trying to create a new story. the importance of the politics, as gene was just pointing out, just look at the special election in new york. this is jack kemp's old seat, the 26th. and the medicare issue has bece, you know, a pivotal issue that should be an automatic republican seat, and
it now is not automatic. >> there is a poll showing the democratic is actually ahead. >> two republican candidates essentially and one democrat. you give me that in any democratic seat and i'll -- >> but davis used to be a democratic candidate. so, there's the third-party candidate. the fact is that what has galvanized this race is the medicare issue and the plan to end the medicare -- [ everyone talking at once ] >> the real issue anyway. we all talk about it. >> from the "usa today" gallup poll this week on gas prices. look at this. 67% say it caused a financial hardship. andrew ross sorkin, this is what i think is the difficulty for republicans. you heard paul ryan say, basically, you know, you're with me or against me on medicare. that's a litmus test issue for republican candidates, but it hurts them if they want to say, hey, we're the party that's going to get you back to work. >> that's the issue, and it's ultimately going to be about the math. it's going to be about what happens to the oil prices and what happens to employment. and i truly believe that we're going to vote with our wallet when it actually comes down to it. and so, the big question is
where are we in, let's say 6 to 12 months from now, when we actually have -- when the rubber hits the road? that's the issue. >> it's a spending debate in washington, because that's the big long-term problem. it's a jobs election and that's the president's problem. he's perceived by six out of ten americans as doing a lousy job on the economy. if republicans can get their focus on maybe not an entitlement war, but that, i think they can beat the president. if not -- >> but the question is, though, which party, which candidate can develop a message on jobs that connects with voters? i would argue that the president hasn't really done that. i would argue that the republicans have not done that. >> but the democrats -- >> if the republicans don't, i think the president's -- >> let me ask you something -- >> you're trying to tell a jobs story and the republicans are trying to tell a deficit story. that's the distinction. >> another candidate, jon huntsman, of course, the returning ambassador for the obama administration in china. he was in new hampshire this past week. he's positioning himself for a run. he's in a gun store in new hampshire. he was a former governor of utah, so he's trying to shore up
those prudentials, but what's interesting is he's positioning himself not as a gun-toting conservative candidate, but as a more pragmatic candidate. andrea mitchell, is that going to fly in this republican party? >> it's very much a big question, open question, as to whether jon huntsman can be viable in this party. it's a place where the bush family now goes, having lost mitch daniels as a running horse. he's opened a campaign headquarte headquarters, or he will open a campaign headquarters in orlando. does that raise questions about his authenticity? is he running away from his mormon faith as governor of utah? it seems almost too cute, too obvious to open in florida your campaign headquarters when you can choose any place in the country. >> do democrats think he's formidable? do you worry about him? >> i don't worry a lot about huntsman. we're obviously just watching the republican field play out, the thinning of the field. it'd be great to have don trump back, but -- >> yeah, but -- >> who do you worry about?
>> obama! >> right now, the president -- no, we don't, because as we're saying, at least the president has been focused on jobs, and as part of his deficit, he has said his number one priority is to make sure that we continue to be able to compete with our major overseas competitors, with china and india and all of the others -- >> doesn't reflect that people are getting that. >> but more so than people on the other side. >> do you worry that if unemployment doesn't get below 8.2%, 8%, that he can't win? >> i don't worry that he can't win, but clearly, the economy -- this election will be about the economy at end of the day, but it's also going to be about people's vision for the economy and where they want to go. and again, so far, we've seen nothing from the republicans as to how they would do anything better than this. >> mike: i talk about iowa? this week you wrote about it in "time" magazine, in terms of iowa's strategy and how it's sort of influencing how the republicans are starting to run and position themselves in the state. do we have that ready? can we put that up?
"the caucuses weed out about half of iowa's gop primary voters," you wrote. "it attracts the intense and increasingly ideological voters who like their political meat served raw. and since the caucus vote is splintered among several candidates and as few as 40,000 votes are enough to win, no wonder michele bachmann is out wearing snowshoes." since iowa has the vote it has, does michele bachmann, does sarah palin have more room to run there and make a real dent? >> absolutely. i'm very fond of iowa, many friends there, but i think the caucus has become a bit of a harold hill type thing, all its own, where the iowans are sending the band's instruments with a big, expensive process. look, 3 million people live in iowa and if you have 40,000 of them together, you can get on a rocket sled in national politics. if i had to bet now, i bet michele bachmann can win around a third of the vote, maybe a little less. that could help huntsman as the kind of anti-bockman, the more
moderate candidate and much more moderate new hampshire, then the rest of the primaries become tougher for huntsman. i think iowa becomes almost more of a disruptive factor with the small turnout caucus for us, but we'll see. >> andrea, mitch romney in many ways had a good week. at the beginning of the week, he announced a huge haul in fund-raising, over $10 million, which made it very clear that this is a guy who can keep on standing and still take a lot of punches over the long haul. and going back to gingrich, on this question of the individual mandate, which is part, of course, of the president's health care plan, this was the exchange that i had with gingrich over the individual mandate, which is something he supported back in the '90s. this is what he said. >> well, all of us have a responsibility to help pay for health care, and i think there are ways to do it that make most libertarians relatively happy. i've said consistently, we ought to have some requirement to either have health insurance or you post a bond or some way indicate you'll be held accountable. >> that is the individual
mandate, is it not? >> it's a variation on it. >> he's given some cover here and this is the biggest issue for republicans. that got less attention, but he said he's not going to go after romney on health care. >> if romney can deal with the health care issue, and he hasn't yet, then romney does become the last man standing and mitch daniels being out of it, huckabee being out, of course, opens up that whole space for a family values social conservative, which is why michele bachmann looks so good for iowa right now. but romney then could be the alternative if huntsman proves what a lot of candidates have proved in the past, that if you're new to politics, it's not that easy to become a national candidate with all the exposure and intensity of that stage. >> gene? >> i just want to point out that this is real confusion and chaos in the republican field. however, when push comes to shove, as mike knows, the republican party's going to have a candidate. that candidate's going to have a ton of money. and unless there's a third-party candidate, the republican candidate is pretty much
guaranteed a floor of say 45% of the population. >> and that candidate, that candidate on the right could be herman cain, who announced in atlanta yesterday. watch this. >> just to be clear, let me say it again, i'm running for president of the united states! and i'm not running for second! >> mike murphy, he had a big crowd in atlanta. >> yeah. i'll take a bet about whether or not he gets nominated. i don't think he has a resume, but he could be the other interesting candidate. the thing about romney, everybody in washington, a good friend of mine, i did the governor's race, but i try to be impartial. he is -- there's not a lot of excitement. he's kind of like mondale. we've got to remember that the tough slogger is often the one who gets nominated. and there is no doubt the nomination in this economy is worth having. so, there will be some interesting, christie now, but ultimately, romney's still the front-runner. >> i'm going to take another break here. we're going to come back with our final segment, our "trends and takeaways." what made news here, what to look for next week and this
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we're back in our final minutes here, our "trends and takeaways" segment what made news this hour. my interview with paul ryan has a lot of people talking in the digital space, online. he says he was disappointed that the big story here this morning, mitch daniels, governor of india indiana, not running for president, that chairman ryan was disappointed about that and even fielded some questions about his own future. watch. >> i'm not running for president. you never know what opportunities present themselves way down the road. i'm not talking about right now. and i want to focus on fixing the fiscal problems of this country. >> didn't close the door here. mike murphy, if we go to our tweet deck board here in the studio, a lot of people are talking about this online, including my colleague, steve hayes, from "the weekly standard," who tweets this -- "mitch daniels out. expect the pressure on paul ryan and governor christie to
increase dramatically." quickly, you agree with that? >> well, the paul ryan thing is five guys at "the weekly standard" tweeting like mad right now, ryan minces words. my friends there. i think there will be a moment for christie, if he wants it. easier said than done, and you peak the day you announce in these days of politics. >> and on twitter, who fills that space, kind of mirroring the conversation we're having here. this from geekgirldiva -- "at this point, paul ryan may have to toss his hat into the ring." so a lot of that conversation going on. as far as what's going on today, we want to take you live to washington, d.c., to the scene of apac, the pro-israel lobby, very powerful in the united states. the president will be speaking here, andrea mitchell, and this is on the heels of a rupture with israel. the president said this week that any peace plan with a palestinian state would have to go back to the borders of prior to the 1967 war. this was significant. >> he did have language that
said there would be land swaps to protect israel's security, but it was taken as a red flag by netanyahu, and what happened then was that even if this was implicit in things that previous presidents had said, he found that even before he got on the plane, he criticized the president, and in such a fashion, he lectured him in the oval office. and if you look at that picture that you have up there right now, it was a stone-faced barack obama and netanyahu basically treating him like a school boy. people even who work for netanyahu, some israeli officials, told him later that he went too far, that it was really rude and that there would be blowback to this. >> and congressman, you know this well, having run a lot of campaigns, and for the party, particularly with a big jewish vote, in florida. you have governor romney, governor pawlenty and others saying, essentially, that the president threw israel under the bus. is there going to be blowback here politically? >> well, first of all, i think that this will blow over pretty
quickly. i think that there will be a quick reconciliation on this point. number two, i think the republicans make a very serious mistake if they decide to politicize this issue. support for israel in the united states has always been a bipartisan issue, and i don't think it serves anybody's interests, not the united states' interest, nor the interests of israel, to have this become a partisan issue. let's remember, the president in this speech emphasized the fact that the united states has an unshakeable commitment to the security of israel. he made it clear he does not expect the israelis to deal with a coalition government that's hamas, so long as they refuse to renounce violence and refuse to accept the right of israel. and finally, he threw cold water on the palestinian idea of going to the united nations. so -- >> but that's not -- >> in ten seconds, mike murphy, does the president get a bad reception at this important conference here in washington? >> i think he'll be in full retreat, but i'll bet we pick up 75,000 votes in florida, this could be a lot. >> but you think it will be significant? >> it was a clumsy move by the president, just those sentences. the rest of the speech was great. >> we'll have to leave it there.
this conversation continues. thanks to all of you very much. you can hear more from andrew ross sorkin in our tape two web extra today. he'll discuss his best-selling book on the 2008 financial crisis, "too big to fail," now it's an hbo movie. it's debuting tomorrow. that's our take two web extra. that is all for to her tuffet,